Haley Bucelewicz | 10.12.16
Summary >

Editor’s Note: ClickReads is our new weekly series of the top technology and business stories relevant to the field service industry. Check back weekly for the newest installment, or look for the #ClickReads hashtag on Twitter. 

Years ago you probably never expected to talk to a computer that understands you. Those futurist novels about artificial intelligence (AI) you read in high school were just fiction. But now Amazon's Alexa and Apple's Siri exist to follow your commands.

Artificial intelligence is here. And everyday it grows smarter, and even more human-like. With all that AI can do today, it's natural to wonder: Is AI going to take my job?

But fear not. AI will expand on human potential rather than take over our jobs.

Andy Peart of Artificial Solutions said, “By 2020 AI will be as critical to business and customer service as the website was 20 years ago, or the mobile app was 5 years ago." And Gartner predicts that by 2018, robots will supervise more than 3 million human workers.

Artificial intelligence already plays a role in industries. Babylon is an AI doctor who can diagnose symptoms as they arise. Ellie is an AI therapist who can read body language. And patients feel more comfortable opening up to her. The law firm Baker & Hostetler just hired Ross, the world's first AI attorney. And Ross didn't have to pass the bar to get hired.

So is it time to clean out your desk and hope for the best? Not yet. Don’t worry, there’s still a place for humans in the workforce.

First, artificial intelligence lacks the human touch. Machines can help us understand data, but only humans can understand people on an emotional level. And customers notice when their interactions with companies lack a human element.

Have you ever felt frustrated calling customer service and not being able to talk to a human? Computers just don't get humans the way humans do. Today businesses can't afford to drive customers away. It's hard to compete on prices and quality. But quality customer service could make your business stand out against others.

Likewise, artificial intelligence lacks creativity. Sure, machines can handle manual, routine tasks. But without human creativity, development is impossible. Remember that it’s the human minds that create the AI and come up with innovative ideas.

Take graphic design as an example. Today computers can generate logos and brand names without human help. But real art requires human thought, emotion, and creativity.

It's time to end the competition between humans and machines, and focus on the two working together. AI is capable of things humans aren’t, such as processing large amounts of data in seconds. Likewise, humans are capable of the empathy and creativity that machines lack. So AI shouldn't replace humans; it should expand on human potential.

Kris Duggan, the Chief Executive Officer of BetterWorks, summed up the benefit of humans and machines working together:

“[Artificial intelligence] is not helpful when left alone…we need the human brain to make the ultimate call…Artificial intelligence should never be about cutting labor. That’s taking a step back. Pair this intelligence with the human brain and you’ll be on to solving problems that have yet to surface.”

If we have technology that can give the human mind greater insight into workflow, why not embrace it? We don't have to give up our jobs to AI. In fact, humans and machines should work together. Artificial intelligence needs humans as much as humans need artificial intelligence.

You can read more about artificial intelligence in the workplace in the links below: